Wanderlust Wednesday: Hampton Court

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As most of you know, i spent 10 days in the UK about a week ago. And my initial thought was to do this weeks post on none other than London itself, but i thought i'd save that for a rainy day. Because i could always write about London. This is slightly outside the London box, but not too far removed.


When I'm in London I want to squeeze every little moment out of this city while it's still in reach, but i always end up deciding it would be nice to see more of England and expand my horizons. I've been to a handful of other places on the country side (Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Dover, Brighton, etc... Those are for another blog day) and this week I decided to escape the city for a few hours and travel to Hampton Court for the afternoon.


Castle parking?
Just 12 miles, aka 30 minutes on the train and a few ££s later, I was in picturesque Surrey, the county just outside of London. Technically, it is still in Greater London, in an area called Richmond Upon Thames, but you wouldn't dream that a city was anywhere around. As soon as I stepped off the train, there was the Thames river... With a royal palace on the other side.


This is the actual view from the train station. No joke.
Hampton Court Palace hasn't had royalty living there in almost 250 years, and was built by Henry VIII (but who knows which wife he lived with there) and massively expanded by William III to be a rival to Versailles palace in Paris. Hampton Court Palace is only one of two (the other being St James Place in Central London) palaces owned by Henry VIII that still exist.

The Palace
The palace grounds are full of trees, gardens, and lush lush grass. It's still very cold here, but they've planted purple and yellow flowers to beckon spring to arrive. The paths wander sound the entire property Until you arrive at a old fashioned maze - yes, a maze!! - made of beautiful, tall, perfectly manicured hedges, and passage ways that measure over .5 miles in distance. Say what you want, but that's awesome.

One of the walls in the small garden. Amazing.
What the maze looks like!
Gorgeous :)

The flowers are blooming... even though it was freezing.

No idea what these are, but they're pretty!
Secret Garden?
I actually was there on the perfect day - it was pretty cold (as it had been that entire week) for February, but it was extremely sunny and the entire property had a glow to it. The Gardens are vast and go all the way until the river, which is usually covered with regatta boats and people rowing crew. As it was lunch time, there were park benches everywhere, covered with people enjoying their lunch in the sun, trying their hardest not to feed all of the ducks and geese that line the river side.

I didn't go into the castle, because they are typically similar, and usually don't have much inside except history placards (but don't get me wrong - I love those), so I figured I'd save my money for something new.

The rest of my afternoon was spent wandering the high street and finding a cozy cafe run by two sisters from Poland. It was called Five at the Bridge... And was the fifth door on the street opposite the bridge that lead you to the palace gates. After two perfect cups of tea I was finally warm, and ready to venture back to the city.


I love these kinds of mugs... but they wouldnt sell one to me!
I'm set for the day!
Hampton court was perfect for a day trip... Beautiful and removed from the hustle and bustle of he city, but really cute and fast to get to.


Thanks Surrey :)


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